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Phoenix
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PostSubject: Stories   Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:34 am


From the Dark Valley

Once upon a time there was a man who lived alone in a wide open space.

He had come into the world with promise and hope, but had felt like he never fitted in with the others. At times he had felt abused, and often abandoned. He hated himself and felt alone within himself. He wanted to know the company of another, and to be loved, but he felt he was unworthy of such a thing.

When he tried to move outside, people had mocked him until he hated everything about himself. He had tried to show them that he deserved a chance by excelling at everything he did so that he would be accepted, but still he felt inadequate. He would have settled for just being an anonymous face in the crowd, but that was not to be.

He learned early in his life that there must be no worth in himself, and so he withdrew. His whole life he had felt like there was no one in the world on whom he could depend, but himself, and yet he too had let himself down. He knew there were others on the earth, but because they had taught him that the world was a cruel place, he denied their existence.

After many years of feeling alone and rejected even amongst other people, he gave up and decided that it was simply not worth trying to stand strongly against what was done to him any more, and so he went away.

He took a hammer and a saw and a large quantity of nails, and he walked for many days until he found a dark valley, and there he decided to stay. He felt very alone, but at least there was no one there who would hurt him.

From time to time, a stranger in disguise would come by and offer him things for which he had hoped, but in the end, their cloak of deceit would fall, and he would see the treasures they offered were false. Eventually he decided that he would either have to settle for these illusions, or remain unto himself.

Through the valley there ran a river, and so he had water enough to drink, but in time he became very hungry. He looked around but could find nothing to eat. He walked the length and breadth of his valley, but found nothing that would quell his hunger. He searched in the stream but could find no fish, and so he sat down and wondered what he should do. The sun didn’t shine in his valley, and he had become cold. He knew he should build a shelter for protection from the storms of winter, but could find no wood from which to build a house. He had the nails, the hammer and the saw, but from what could he build?

With no food, no shelter, and no companionship, he knew he would not last through another bleak winter. He was too weak, and tired of trying. He had lost all hope, and so, still hanging on to the illusions of what he hoped was real, he sat down and waited for the end to come.

Then one day he thought he saw a woman come over the horizon, but he decided that she too had come to take, and would then leave him alone again. He tried to ignore her attempts to engage him in meaningful dialogue, yet she continued to try.

She asked him why he sat there looking so lost, but he told her to go away. Undaunted she laid her hand upon his shoulder, and said,

“Please come with me to a place that is perfect for you. All the time you have been lingering here, the beauty and purpose for which you were born has been just over that hill.”

“I looked.” He said. “There is nothing there, but emptiness and darkness.”

“Please take my hand and come with me”, she said.

But still the man resisted, because the thought of the disappointment he would feel when he looked and discovered he had been right all along, was simply too much to bear.

“Go away.” Said the man. “Please go away to your place of beauty and light, because with me you will find only darkness.”

And so the woman sat down beside the man and she said,

“I shall wait with you until you are ready to begin the journey.”

One day the man grew tired of waiting for the woman to leave, and so he decided that he would venture with her to the place about which she had spoken, because once he had proved to her that it did not exist, he could return to his valley and wait in the darkness for the end to come.

So she took his hand and said,

“Bring your hammer, your saw and your nails, and we shall build a shelter to withstand all storms.”

“There is no material from which to build.” said the man, but he brought with him the tools, nonetheless.

They journeyed through the valley, and over the hill, and the man began to see a little light, and feel the warmth of the sun on his skin once again. For the first time he heard the birds that sang. She took him beside a still lake, and said,

“It is here that we shall build our house. There are trees aplenty, and with your tools we can cut and build.”

And so they did.

“With the water from the river that springs in your valley,” she said, “we will know no thirst, and with the berries and fish in mine, we will know no hunger. Together, we will have all we need.”

And so they built and they ate and drank, and while the man had expected winter to come, he had noticed that the days were getting warmer and more bright. There were more days of sun than he had seen in his life to that point. Although he could not understand it, the woman seemed to accept him as he was. He waited for her cloak to fall, but as time passed, he found that he looked less often.

Where at first he had been afraid to be himself, he slowly began to show her all the different parts of himself that no one had seen before, yet still she did not go. He showed her the outside that he felt had mocked him, and in time, the inside where he had been afraid to go before.

“How do you make this magic?” he asked.

“There is no magic,” she replied, “these things were with you all the time.”

“Why then is it that you can see, where others could not?" he questioned, but the woman just smiled.

He felt at ease with her, and she with him.

At first through her eyes, and then his own, he could see the beauty, the light and the music, first outside himself, and then within. In time he ceased to question why she had seen, while others had not. Eventually he forgot that life had not always been that way, and that there had been a time when he could not see. For in her love, he was free to find himself, and his own love that had been there all along.

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PostSubject: Re: Stories   Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:46 am

Finding Himself

I was staying at a beautiful old-fashioned inn on a grassy bluff overlooking the ocean. I had gone there to think and renew my strength after a series of rather disturbing events.

One morning, after breakfast, while most of the guests were enjoying a fire in the lobby, I decided to brave the elements, and go out for a walk, so I could get a closer look at the dramatic sea that was brewing.

I walked to the edge of the cliffs, and looked over, but there was not much to see, except for the rocks below. The wind was so strong I was in fear of being blown from my footing. Although I had only been outside for a few minutes, and was properly attired, I was already soaked to the skin.

There was a little path leading from the bluff, into the woods, so I decided to escape the rain and the gale. I took off my raincoat and hung it on a branch, as the trees made an umbrella to shelter me from the rain. It was nice on the path, with a soft bed of needles and rotting leaves under my feet. As I walked along, the air became drier, and I could begin to feel the sun's rays, filtering through the leaves.

In a moment I came to a clearing, and before me lay the most magnificent bay. For a moment I couldn't believe that anything so beautiful could exist, because it was even more wonderful than scenes I had seen in booklets of exotic places. There was water so blue and crystal clear, that you could see to the bottom, and it was as smooth as a mirror, with flecks of sunlight shimmering across the surface. There was sand as white as I had ever seen, and a frame of trees in every conceivable shade of green, with rocks reaching down into the water. I stopped to inhale the beauty, and was almost overcome with its magnificence.

Suddenly I became aware of a man sitting in the sand half way along the beach, and as I looked at him, I realized he was the person who had completely changed my life. This small figure alone on such a large expanse of beach, looked so alone, and so vulnerable.

I half walked and half slid down the rock to get a closer look at him. He wore only long white pants, and his knees were drawn up against his bare chest. As he leaned forward, his face was almost hidden by his arms, which, resting on his knees, were stretched out in front of him. Parts of his body were a faded brown, as though he had not had a lot of time for the sun, and his hair, rifled by the breeze, fell naturally into disarray.

He looked up toward the sea, and beyond to the sky, but his eyes were empty.

I could not believe how much better looking he was than I had envisioned him to be, but I had to smile to myself, because I had only dreamed of meeting him, and now here he was, only steps away from me.

For a moment I was lost in a fantasy, and then pulling myself back to reality, I saw the tears streaming down his face. I longed to go over and put my arms around him, but I didn't really dare, as for so long I had only been able to admire him from a distance.

Oh we had communicated with each other by e-mail, and by phone, but somehow I had never really expected to meet him, and certainly not like this. But he looked so lost, and in so much pain, that I knew I must overcome my shyness and go to him.

I slipped off my shoes, and then slowly made my way across the warm sand. As I came closer to him, I could hear him quietly sobbing, although he tried to restrain himself, but his pain was so real.

I stopped a couple of feet from him, and then plucking up my courage, spoke his name quietly. His crying eased and he quickly wiped the tears from his face. He glanced up but couldn't bear to look me in the eye. Sensing no withdrawal, I sat down in the sand beside him, and put my right arm around him. My left hand I slipped gently down his arm, and interlaced my fingers with those of his left hand. He leaned over, and lowering his knees, rested his head on my chest. I moved slightly to accommodate him, and then held him more tightly in my arms. It seemed so natural that I totally forgot my earlier inhibitions. He clung to me, as though hanging on to life itself, and all the emotions came pouring out.

We sat for what seemed like hours, and gradually he began to relax. The tears had stopped, and he was silent now. Still holding on to each other, and as though we were both of one mind, we lay back on the sand. It was as though the day would go on for ever.

I was in ecstasy at being allowed to share such a personal moment in the life of this man who was so special to me.

A quizzical expression came on his face as he looked up at me.

"How did you get here?" he asked.

"I am staying at the inn over there." I replied, gesturing in the direction from which I had come.

He was quiet for a moment, and then said,

"That's impossible. This place exists only in my mind. It is my escape. I retreat to this beach whenever life becomes so painful, I can't cope."

"But I did walk over here" I said, "I'm sure I did."

He shook his head and smiled.

"No. You sensed my pain, and somehow we arrived where we can communicate through our thought waves alone. I needed someone so badly, and you came to me."

"Well if that's true," I said, "I don't ever want to leave you, because you are still hurting, even if at the moment you are feeling a little better."

"I don't ever want you to leave." he said.

"Now I have found you, I will never go. You will finally know how much you are loved and wanted, and how important you are to me."

He took my hand and pulled me to my feet. We walked along the sand, and waded in the waves that were lapping at the shore. I looked into his eyes that were bluer than the ocean or the sky, and they were no longer empty. It was a beautiful time, and I hoped that it would never end.

I awoke with a start, and for a moment I just lay still in bed, and tried to recall every little detail of what was so real to me. I turned on the light and looked at his photo, and wished I could still reach out and touch him as I had. Even though I didn't really understand what had happened, I knew somehow that it was not just a dream. By some miracle he had reached out with his mind to someone who loved him and who cared, and in doing so, he had found himself.

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PostSubject: Re: Stories   Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:58 am

Beyond The Door



In life there are many doors, and we must choose which ones we will open, and how far.

With some, we are on the inside looking out, and with others we are on the outside looking in.

Some doors are new, and some freshly painted. Others are old and weathered. Some are thin and some are thick. In a few there are gaps so that the wind may blow through. Some are sturdy and made of steel.


All doors lead to somewhere.

I would like to tell you of one such door. At the time I came across it, I was not expecting to find anything at all, because I was lost. I had wandered alone for so long that I could not remember from where I had come. I had left all that was familiar and stepped out into the unknown. It was cold, and I was so tired from my long journey that I wondered if I could even find the strength to take another step. I wondered too, if I even wanted to continue. But in the darkest of nights, one can sometimes find a star, and so it was that night.


As I mounted the hill, I saw in the distance, the brightest of lights. As I stumbled along in a fog, I came to a house in the middle of nowhere and yet from every window, behind closed curtains, the brilliance that radiated was dazzling. I was so in awe of what I saw, that immediately my breath was taken from me, and I felt tears begin to well up in my eyes. In the darkness I saw another person, and I called out to them, remarking on the intensity of the light, but they said they knew not of what I spoke. That the night was dark and they saw no light. I watched as they continued on their way.

In trepidation, I ventured up to the door and gently knocked, but there was no answer from within. The door was thick and strong, and had weathered many storms. It appeared that many times it had been reinforced to keep danger at bay. Again and again I knocked, but no one responded. What I had seen was so amazing though, that I could not give up, and so I continued to try, until eventually I heard the faintest of voices telling me to go away.

"Please", I begged, "open the door and let me in, because I am in awe of what I see. If the light from out here is so stunning, then how much greater must it be from within there?"

"In here, there is no light." I was told.

Through many, many hours of darkness I sat close by, and waited for the person inside to open the door and let me in. But his determination to protect himself from the outside world was too much. Yet as I spoke to him in quiet reassuring words, I could hear his voice draw nearer the door, until he sat on the other side. Sometimes in fear he would back away, but in time he would return. It seemed that the words I spoke were in some way comforting to him, and yet his defences prevented him from letting me in.

And so throughout the seasons we remained that way. He on the inside, and I shut out. Through the sun and the rain, the snow and the dark nights, we sat like that. Through the falling of the leaves, and the newness of the buds that formed, he kept me away. Yet never once did that light begin to fade. Through all the months it glowed just as brightly as it did the first day.

Then one day, that I remember well, I heard the handle turn, and the door opened up a crack. Immediately I gasped, because what I saw was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before.

"Please" said the voice, "go away, because in here there is nothing of worth."

"Oh but there is," I replied, "the light that I see is amazing."

"In here there is no light, only darkness, and I am afraid. Go away."

"But I have sat by you through the changing of the days, the weather, and the seasons, and have never left you, because the light that I see in here is worth pursuing. I shall remain here, for as long as it takes for you to understand and let me in."

"If I let you in, you will find only darkness. Then will you go away?"

"I have lived my life in darkness, for until now, I was blind. Now I see."

The door closed and I heard the lock turn once more. Again I sat and weathered the seasons. He on one side of the door, and I on the other. We spoke that way, as the light continued to shine.

One day he told me that although he was still scared to let me in, he was willing to try, but only as long as I promised him, that if it was too much, I would retreat without delay. I assured him that while my presence would remain constant always, at his request I would return to my place outside.

So taking a deep breath, and trembling in fear, he opened the door and reached out his hand to mine. He felt the warmth of my hand, as I did his, and for the first time, he saw the light within.

But more amazing still, was that what we found inside, together, was more than either of us could have seen alone.

All doors lead to somewhere.

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PostSubject: Re: Stories   Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:22 am


The Prism


You find something which is absolutely exquisite and breathtaking, and it is pure and perfect, and more beautiful than anything that has been seen before. It is a perfectly cut and shaped piece of lead crystal, where delicate facets have been cut, and myriads of prisms catch the light. You hold it up and revel in its beauty as it traps and diffuses the light.

For some reason you need to put it in a box, so you choose one that is the right size to fit it perfectly and you set it down. Over the years you are alone, and it is covered up with various things. Sometimes you find a lovely piece of paper and you wrap that around it, but more often it is an old rag, or a blanket that is in holes, or maybe an old newspaper you find in an alley. Sometimes it is a greasy food wrapper, and sometimes an oily cloth, but you go on wrapping. You find things that are damaging and things that are dirty, and things that appear to cover the prism more thickly until you have long since forgotten it's beauty.

Many times over the years other people contribute to these coverings, and they too add their layers, and you get farther and farther from where you started.

But one day you meet someone, and they come up to you and they say "I hear you have a prism, and that it is the most beautiful prism that anyone has ever seen." And you say, "No, I don't have anything like that." But the friend is insistent that you do indeed have a prism, and so they look round your apartment until they find this package. And they say to you. "Yes, there is the prism." And you say "Prism, that is not a prism. It is just layers of dirty wrappers that I have collected over the years.".

But the friend won't give up and tells you that they know the prism is in there and that they know that it is still as beautiful as it was the day it was made. They urge you to unwrap it together, but you refuse, saying again that it is nothing. They tell you that together you are going to unwrap all the layers so that you can see for yourself that the prism is still there, and so finally in order to prove to them it is not, and get rid of them, you agree.

Together you begin to uncover layer after layer, sometimes having to relive painful times and challenging events as things come back to you when you recall each piece of paper or each piece of cloth that you have placed on there. But when you feel weak, your friend takes your hand and puts their hand on your shoulder and urges you on, saying that you can do this together. Sometimes tears are shed because your friend has to see the dirty wrappings you placed there at different times, and you feel ashamed that they are seeing these, and you know that at any minute they will find the one thing that will disgust them so, that they will turn and run, but when you look at them, they just smile and tell you it will be okay. That they understand.

Eventually you come to the box at the bottom, and when your friend hands it to you, you are too scared to open it, because you know that when you do it is going to be empty, and that in their disappointment that friend will now go away for sure. You tell them you cannot look in the box, and you put it down and go away. You go to the window to look out, trying to escape the inevitable thing that is about to happen, and hope that when you look out the day will be cloudy and dark, but for some reason today the sun is shining.

Your friend comes to you at the window, and brings the box, but you cast your eyes to the floor and cannot look them in the eye. They take your hands, and in one place the box, while allowing your hand to rest on theirs. Then they take your other hand, and placing theirs over yours, help you to open the box. You are so afraid now, that you are crying and you cannot stop, but they wipe your tears, and hold you close, until the box is finally opened and the prism freed.

Immediately the sunlight is captured in it, and the colours dance about the room. You gasp because you really did think there was nothing there, and your friend holds you close and tells you that it is truly the most beautiful prism they have ever seen.


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PostSubject: Re: Stories   Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:28 am


A Hidden Beauty

Once there was a seed. It was apparently just an ordinary seed. It came in an envelope with a lot of other seeds. Someone found the envelope and opened it. When they saw seeds inside, they decided to plant them and see what grew. They poured the seed into their hand, and planted each one very carefully. They threw the envelope away.

They fertilized and watered the seeds and tended to them with love, and they began to grow and flourish.

But there was one little seed still left in the package that had escaped their notice, and it, like the envelope was tossed away unwanted. As it lay dormant, it saw what the other seeds received, and it wanted to feel what they felt. It wanted someone to tend to its needs, and plant and fertilize and water it too. It wanted to be nurtured, but because it felt it wasn't wanted, it thought it was just a weed.

It tried to grow on its own, and had begun to break the hard outer shell, when man came by and emptied the contents of the can into the back of his truck. The little seed fell out of the envelope and was buried. It was very dark in there, and the seed was scared because it had never seen such a dark place, and it was all alone among strange things it did not recognize or understand.

Eventually the truck stopped and made a loud noise, and the little seed tumbled out of the truck and was once again buried in a very dark and cold place under piles of garbage. It knew it wanted to grow, and receive the tenderness and love that it remembered seeing the other seeds receiving, but here it was in the midst of strangers. It knew what it needed and wanted to grow, but it found nothing that would nurture it.

For many months the seed lay there, dreaming of the life it had imagined, but the rain came and the cold came, and it was afraid. It withdrew back into its shell, and waited to die. It had finally accepted that it was not worthy of what it had seen and waited for.

One day, a bird digging around in the garbage, picked up a piece of bread that had been tossed away, but unknowingly, the seed had become affixed to it. Suddenly there was a loud noise, and the bird took flight. It had not gone far when somehow the seed became dislodged and it fell.

Down and down, and down it went, until it landed very hard, on a rock. It was almost night, and it was so dark and so cold, and the seed felt more alone and more afraid than it had ever been. It hoped more than ever that it would die, because it knew that here there was no chance for life.

But sometimes things surprise you, because what the seed didn't know was that in the fall, in its very darkest moment, the hard outer shell had cracked. It didn't mean for it to happen, because it was waiting to die. But before it knew it a root had started to grow, and a little sprout had begun. It didn't want life now, not here, and not like this, but sometimes there is
something, waiting around the corner, of which we are completely unaware, and so it was for the seed.

A person walking by spotted the little plant, and seeing a future for it, picked it up. Perhaps if they planted it, they thought, it would grow. Even though there was barely any life in it at that point, they somehow saw promise in it, and could see the beauty that was waiting deep inside. So they lovingly carried it home.

They chose the best spot in the garden for this little seed, and they dug a deep hole and put in compost and fertilizer and added the very best soil. The little seed felt it was worthless, and didn't want to grow any more. But every day the person came out and watered it and talked to it, and tended to its needs.

When the sun was too hot, they sheltered it, when it was weak they supported it, when it began to go the wrong way, they gently pruned it. No matter what it did, they never gave up on it. When it had given up hope, they still saw promise in it. They knew that if they loved and nurtured it, it would one day bloom. Other things in the garden were overlooked, but the little seed was always cared for.

One day the person came out and celebrated, but the little seed had no idea why. After all it was nothing. It had wondered all along why someone had seen such promise in a weed. It had wanted to be a flower, like the others, but it knew that it would never be anything other than a weed.

The voice continued to tell it, it was the most beautiful flower in the garden, but still it would not believe. The person came back with a mirror that it held up in front of the seed, and said,

"Look there little seed, that is what I have seen all along."

"That is not me," said the seed, "That is a perfect red rose bud. I am just a worthless weed."

"Oh no," said the voice, "That is the beautiful rose that you were born to be, and that I have always seen in you."


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